PGA Show leaves exhibitors, attendees enthused

The PGA Show hit a high note on Friday, when a variety of industry leaders participated in a spirited panel discussion covering topics from putter anchoring to pace of play.

PGA Show leaves exhibitors, attendees enthused

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Paving a productive, positive path for the golf industry in 2013, the PGA Merchandise Show concludes its 60th anniversary celebration today with a third round of product presentations, equipment testing, buying, selling, Golf 2.0 discussions, networking and special events designed to set the table for a successful 2013 business cycle.

The 60th PGA Show hit a high note on Friday, when PGA of America President Ted Bishop, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan, TaylorMade President and CEO Mark King, Golf Digest Chairman Jerry Tarde, NGF President and CEO Joe Beditz, European Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills, Golf Channel President Mike McCarley and PGA Board member Dottie Pepper participated in a spirited panel discussion covering golf industry topics from putter anchoring to bifurcation, to growing the game and pace of play, to water conservation and myriad other issues.

The nine-member panel didn't agree on everything, but united in praising PGA Golf Exhibitions and The PGA of America for staging a productive PGA Merchandise Show that set a positive course for the year ahead.

"The PGA Merchandise Show is fantastic this year," noted Finchem. "Now, if we can transfer this positive energy to the year ahead, it promises to be another productive year. The industry is moving in a positive direction. That doesn't mean we don't have challenges ahead, but the industry is prepared to face those challenges with constructive debate, discussion and transparency."

King, noting that TaylorMade-adidas has enjoyed consecutive record sales years, also lauded the high energy and high traffic at the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show. But he cautioned that the industry stands at a crossroads.

"If we don't continue to take steps to make the game more inviting, more welcoming and more enjoyable, in five years this Show and our participation numbers may be half what they are today," said King. "To preserve the future of the game, we need to create an environment where people are welcome and enjoy the game."

After two days of booths bustling with business, informative education seminars, more than 1,000 companies promoting innovative, new products and services, celebrity appearances, and a series of special events honoring the industry's finest professionals in various categories, the PGA Merchandise Show has given golf an optimistic aura as it embarks on a new year. Day Two of the PGA 2013 Show left exhibitors and attendees enthused.

"For me, this is my 33rd Show and our 20th year as an exhibitor," said Harris MacNeill, president of Champ and MacNeill Engineering Worldwide. "For us, the PGA Merchandise Show has helped us establish our brand and establish relationships with national and international customers. It's the single most important thing we do all year."

Added Peter Broome, vice president, U.S. business relationships for Acushnet Co.: "The ultimate measuring stick of our success is the response we have received from our partners, which has been extremely positive."

"There is a sense of excitement with all of the new equipment introductions, and a lot of positive vibes at the Show this year," explained Scott Glass, PGA head professional at Rolling Rock Club in Laughlintown, Pa. "The thing I like about the Show is you always find something unique and different."

"You can't beat the efficiency of the PGA Merchandise Show, as far as being able to meet with more than 1,000 buyers in a single setting," said Jeff Herold, founder and president of Club Glove, which was featuring its TRS Ballistic line of luggage and Club Glove travel bags. "Judging by the traffic and the interest, there are positive signs that the economy has turned and there are better times ahead."

"It's amazing how many companies are introducing new products at the Show this year," said Mark Parisi, PGA Professional at Hudson National Golf Club in Newark, Delaware. "There seems to be a lot more electricity and optimism on the Show floor this year, too."